Jon Richardson on first year as Hornets head coach
PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 April 2020
“I have already signed up; I have agreed my contract and I am there next year,” said a delighted Hornets coach Jon Richardson.
Despite the Tribute South West One West season ending early after the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Weston-based outfit have played some of the best rugby all year long, which has seen them lead the way at top of the table.
Unbeaten since the beginning of January and undefeated at home since September, Richardson has loved his first year in charge.
“I have really enjoyed being head coach,” he said.
“I obviously have been involved with the Hornets before, but being head coach this year has just been a really memorable season.
“For me it has been a fantastic experience, from the committee to the clubhouse and medical staff.
“Everyone has been amazing especially our supporters and it’s just been an enjoyable season.
“I’m just devasted that we haven’t been able to give them that end-of-season promotion party.
“I’m confident we would have gone up, had we been able to finish the season.”
Richardson first joined the club as a 10-year-old boy and has held many roles in his on and off 32-year association with the club, which has seen him as a joint first team coach, Colts coach, the under-18 girl’s coach as well coaching both the under-15s and under-16s.
Now 42, Richardson, who has recently just set up a new business called Sustain Properties with a fellow member from the club, led the Colts to victory in the National Cup and admits the success of “being crowned champions of England” will take “some beating”.
“Other than that, this has been my most enjoyable season,” he added.
“The players have responded brilliantly, everyone is playing with a smile on their face.
“Everyone is just disappointed that we haven’t been able to get over the finishing line.
“When we started the season it was always going to take us a while to gel as a team with so many faces.
“We had the loss at North Petherton straight after Christmas, that just galvanized the side.
“It finally clicked after that and they looked a different team to be honest with you.
“We had a difficult trip to Crediton which took the points down a little bit, in the weather, the cold and the rain and the uncertainty.
“It was the moment we were waiting for all season and we finally gelled as a squad. Everyone looked comfortable in any situation.”
But their success on the pitch has been marred by certain frustrations off it, with no fewer than 50 players used overall.
A series of “setbacks” had threatened to derail the Hornets’ progress, but Richardson says the players who have come in have helped steady the ship.
“We’ve had a lot of setbacks, we have lost brilliant players along the way,” he said.
“Jack Richardson, our fly-half in Jack Martin, we lost Dave Price before the season started, Joe Gadd.
“We’ve just lost a lot of players and then we have also been lucky with guys coming in as well.
“Ayden Chenoweth joined us mid-season as did Hayden Tuttiett and they have just added so much.
“Alec Chase came back, Kyle Williams came in and Mua Inoke turned up.
“We’ve been unlucky and lucky, but we have to take the rough with the smooth, but to be where are with the players we could or should have had, I feel for them as well with long-term injuries.
“I do feel we deserve to be where we are.”
But, Richardson admits the success is all down to his team, who have performed week in, week out throughout the campaign.
“They are a good bunch, it’s taken time to gel and to get to know each other,” admitted Richardson.
“It’s never easy when you are putting together a new team. The boys from Hartpury, it’s nice to have, they are rugby men and brought a lot to the group.
“The boys we have had here have always had it in them to be a good side.
“The boys have got to take a lot of credit for the way they are because they control everything really.
“They are the ones that play, train, bring the attitude. I am the one who’s driving the ship really.
“They are driving each other to be better which is exactly where we want to be, and they are just responding well to the challenges and driving themselves.
“Setting their own standards and they are delivering; I can’t ask any more of the players, they have been superb.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.